Liquid gold: chemical-free beauty oils
When I fell pregnant with my first child, I became very conscious of what I was putting on my skin. After all, there is growing concern certain chemicals (parabens, phthalates) found in common personal care products can affect developing babies and bring on early puberty in girls.
A quick check of my long-standing, cult American body lotion revealed methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben, plus BHT and PEGs. It had to go. As a moisturising junkie, I had to
find a substitute. In Spain, I discovered a chemist selling sweet almond oil, and it was surprisingly cheap. An excellent moisturiser and a good source of essential fatty acids, it was also unscented, so when the baby arrived I knew it wouldn’t interfere with my personal scent and I could use it on her skin, too.
Five years later, I’m addicted to oils. Yes, there are plenty of “free from” moisturisers available now, but with oil the ingredients tend to be 100 per cent natural and transparent, so you can be confident you know what you’re getting.
Emma Webber, co-founder of the Natural Spa Factory agrees. “Oils have a certain clarity, both in appearance and how their ingredients are detailed. They are naturally occurring and have intrinsic beneficial properties without the addition of chemicals or nasties.”
French apothecary brand l’Officine Universelle Buly (available at Selfridges) has a veritable sweet shop of pure plant oils sourced from around the world. “Plant oils have always been used to nurture the skin,” explains Victoire de Taillac, Buly co-creative director. “They are the oldest of beauty products, have amazing properties for skin and hair and are well tolerated by any skin. They also consist of one ingredient. If you’re concerned by the composition of beauty products, plant oils should be your first solution.”
Buly’s full range features 89 oils, from typical sources like almond, avocado and coconut, to obscure ones like Buriti fruit, Kalahari melon seed and even broccoli. It also makes blended body oils stored in beautiful antique style bottles you’ll want to hang on to.
Isla Apothecary’s organic Neroli Body Oil captures the mood of a Mediterranean summer and if you’re pregnant, Clarins’ original Tonic Body Treatment Oil primes the skin against stretch marks and has a revitalising scent for tired, achy bodies.